Our Vision for Employment

Employment is a path to opportunity.

Like everyone else, many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities want an opportunity to do paid work. They want and need to contribute to the economy, and to their communities. They’re hungry for their skills and talents to be recognized and valued. They want a chance to give back, without being restricted to publicly funded services. Your state’s employment system stands behind people as they struggle, succeed, fail, and succeed again–just as we all do. And our project team stands behind you, as your state and local systems adapt to changing expectations, and find new ways to meet employment goals.

Employment connects people.

When employment’s working well, people get jobs that match their interests, and gain a whole new personal and professional network. They build relationships with coworkers, and get more control over their own destiny. Employees with disabilities may learn new things about themselves and grow personally. This may also lead to seeking a particular career path, or changing jobs to find new challenges, improving who they are, learning who they want to be, and engaging in their community.

Employment means equity.

At its core, employment for us simply means a person working at an individual job in a local business, as part of the general workforce, earning the prevailing wage. All employees are on the business’s payroll, and everyone gets paid the same way. Finally, everyone gets the supports and accommodations they need to thrive in their roles.

Employment means increased economic opportunity.

Earning wages at and above minimum wages provides opportunity for individuals to become more financially self-sufficient, to build assets, and to lead more independent lives. That’s not to say these goals come easily. You know that from interacting with families, individuals, and staff walking out onto the front lines every day. Funding streams shift, acronyms come and go, laws change, and it gets harder to fight the good fight. But through your work, and the energy and tenacity of the people you serve, we’re all getting closer, day by day, to making this vision of employment into a reality.

SELN Vision of Employment pdf


SELN Resources

About SELN
Member State Contacts
SELN Accomplishments Report
Employment First
COVID-19 Resource Page
SELN: Supporting a Vision for Employment eLearning Course
Case Management Short Series
SELN Guidance for Conversations
Unpaid Work Experiences, Volunteering, and Internships